Islamabad: Pakistan Foreign Office on Thursday termed the The United States’ decision to declare Hizbul Mujahideen a specially designated terrorist organisation led by an internationally recognised terrorist is “saddening”, as the Kashmiris’ struggle for their right to self-determination has been rightfully continuing for the past 70 years.
Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakria while addressing a weekly media briefing has said Indian occupation forces had used excessive force against people in India-held Kashmir and they are “continuing to do so”.
The US has always appreciated Pakistan’s sacrifices in counter-terrorism efforts, the spokesman said, adding that the US government has repeatedly said that it appreciates its relations with Pakistan.
He further said that the primary issue in Pakistan-India relations is that of Kashmir “which has to be resolved through dialogue”.
The blacklisting of Hizbul Mujahideen further increases US pressure on Pakistan to do more about tightening the screws on terrorist groups that allegedly use its territory for launching cross-border attacks in Afghanistan and India-held Kashmir.
The US Department of State announced on Wednesday that it had designated Hizbul Mujahideen — also known as HM — as a foreign terrorist organisation and as a specially designated global terrorist.
“These designations seek to deny HM the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks,” said the State Department while reminding US citizens that they were now prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the group.
Formed in 1989, HM is one of the largest and oldest militant groups of Kashmir. The US has already declared its leader Mohammad Yusuf Shah, better known as Syed Salahuddin, a specially designated global terrorist.
Pakistan had earlier said that the designation of individuals supporting the Kashmiri right to self-determination as terrorists is ‘completely unjustified’.